Nov 2, 2022 - News

Study: Atlanta's overnight scooter ban added hours to everyone's commute

Illustration of a man on a scooter moving out of frame

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Atlanta’s nighttime ban on rental e-scooters is costing commuters and motorists time and money by forcing people into cars, according to a new study from Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy.

Why it matters: Atlanta can’t make roads any wider, and e-scooters are one non-automobile — and more eco-friendly — option for people to get around town.

Catch up quick: In 2019, a series of serious accidents and fatalities (and complaints about e-scooters on sidewalks) prompted the city to order e-scooter rental companies like Bird and Lime to stop rentals from 9pm to 4am.

  • The overnight ban gave researchers an opportunity to compare life with and without e-scooters via data from Uber Movement, says Omar Asensio, a Georgia Tech professor and the study's principal author.

By the numbers: The average Atlantan’s commute increased by 10% after the ban was passed. The average commute to a soccer game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium shot up by 37%.

  • Atlanta drivers wasted more than 780,000 extra hours stuck in traffic.

Zoom out: Nationally, Asensio and his four co-authors say, bans like Atlanta's could have an estimated economic impact of $536 million.

  • E-scooters, e-bikes and other micro-mobility options could shave more than 17% off commuters’ travel time, per the report.

What’s next: Doubling down on building more bike lanes and other infrastructure could protect e-scooter and e-bike riders as well as pedestrians.


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